Transit company responds to school bus strike threat

Southern Iowa Transit has issued a response to the threat of a possible strike by the Teamster local that represents its drivers.

Jerry Kjer issued a lengthy press release on Thursday presenting his company's position on the negotiations.

Kjer says SIT has been negotiating vigorously the newly formed Teamsters Local 238. Kjer says the sides have met 11 times over the past months and that the company presented its best and final offer to its drivers on July 29.

According to Kjer, that proposal included more than a 15 percent pay increase, sick days, a retirement plan, grievance procedures and seniority protection.

Kjer goes on to say that "management and staff of SIT have agreed to meet with Teamsters Local 238 again on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 and October 4, 2013, and SIT has offered additional dates as well if necessary to try and reach an agreement. It is our hope to come to a reasonable and appropriate settlement. It is also our intention to continue to provide safe, quality and efficient student transportation services to the Ottumwa Community."

Kjer's statement comes as a response to a press release issued by Teamsters Local 238 on Tuesday, suggesting that if an agreement is not reached, that a disruption in service was likely. SIT provides drivers for the Ottumwa School District, a disruption in service could have serious repercussions for the district and its students.

On Tuesday, Ottumwa Superintendent Davis Eidahl told KTVO that he hoped the two sides would come to an agreement before it impacted Ottumwa student's ability to get to school.

Click here to view Southeast Iowa Transit's Release

Teamsters say Ottumwa bus strike possible